A compact 45 kV curve tracer with picoampere current measurement capability

W. W. Sullivan, D. Mauch, A. Bullick, C. Hettler, A. Neuber, J. Dickens

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Abstract

This paper discusses a compact high voltage curve tracer for high voltage semiconductor device characterization. The system sources up to 3 mA at up to 45 kV in dc conditions. It measures from 328 V to 60 kV with 15 V resolution and from 9.4 pA to 4 mA with 100 fA minimum resolution. Control software for the system is written in Microsoft Visual C# and features real-time measurement control and IV plotting, arc-protection and detection, an electrically isolated universal serial bus interface, and easy data exporting capabilities. The system has survived numerous catastrophic high voltage device-under-test arcing failures with no loss of measurement capability or system damage. Overall sweep times are typically under 2 min, and the curve tracer system was used to characterize the blocking performance of high voltage ceramic capacitors, high voltage silicon carbide photoconductive semiconductor switches, and high voltage coaxial cable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034702
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Volume84
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

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